Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colossal Chili Fail

As my father so affectionately put it, "How the hell do you screw up chili?" I am chili-cursed. Seriously.

No, there are no pictures. Yes, it was that bad. I don't know what went wrong, but - oh, man - did it go wrong. Every time I try to make chili something invariably goes wrong. And not just, let's-throw-some-junk-in-there-and-fix-it wrong. Irrevocably wrong. Grrr.... argh.

Rather than use one of my mother's handed-down chili recipes, I thought I would try my hand at this Bon Appetit recipe. Why? I don't know. I am masochist? Obvi. So, I whipped up this disaster over the weekend to my acute disappointment. Note: I made this recipe more or less as written. I did make a few minor substitutions, but nothing that should have altered the overall flavor of the dish. Or so I thought.

The overall appearance upon serving was a little disconcerting; my immediate thought was, "This is chili. It ain't always pretty." But, secretly, I knew. I knew as Boyfriend and I tried our first bites and a heavy silence enveloped the apartment. I have to give bonus points to the boy for waiting until I pushed my own bowl away (and had emitted several grumbly curses to myself) before he gave off any obvious signal that it was inedible. Good boy.

But seriously, does the god of chili have it in for me? The first time I tried to make chili, I inexplicably doubled the amount of chili powder called for in the recipe. Hot. At the time, I managed to balance it out enough with extra tomatoes, black beans and anything else that was in arm's reach and vaguely complementary to chili, so that it was cool enough to eat, but the story doesn't end there. A few months later, I tried to make this chili again (with the appropriate amount of chili powder) and it was ... just ... missing ... something. Unfortunately, I didn't write down what I added to my first attempt, which apparently were the key ingredients to making it delicious. Of course.

When all else fails, do what you should have done in the first place: listen to your mother. Mom has given me not one, but two tasty, fool-proof chili recipes. Have I made either of them? No. Knowing my penchant for screwing up chili, did I decide to go with the tried-and-true favorites, which have been served at our and our family friends' tables for 30 years? No. I had to give over to my hubris. I was high on my braised pork patties and eager for more glory. And what did I end up with? Funky meat glop, that made a disturbingly familiar thhh-plop sound as I spooned it into the garbage bin.

Now I have guilt.

Poor Boyfriend had to wait all day, smelling the deceptively appetizing aromas emanating from my beloved dutch oven, Rosy, only to be robbed of dinner and many successive and anticipated leftovers.  Mac 'n' cheese anyone?


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